June 14, 2011. (Romereports.com)
On June 30, at 11 A.M. the Ratzinger Prize in Theology will be awarded by the pope in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. The honor is a prestigious one, described by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, as a type of Nobel Prize. Card. Camillo Ruini
Chairman, Scientific Committee Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation "The purpose of the Foundation is very broad. It makes reference to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger, but the intention is to promote all theology, especially in three areas. The study of Sacred Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and fundamental theology. This last one, focuses on reason and on the culture of our time. In his academic career, the Holy Father targeted these three areas."
This year's winners are Manlio Simonetti, an Italian professor of ancient Christian literature and Patrology. He teaches at the University of Cagliari and the University La Sapienza in Rome. Also honored is the Spanish priest Olegario González de Cardedal, who works as a professor of Systematic Theology.
He's also a collaborator for the Spanish newspaper ABC. The third winner is Maximilian Heim. A German Cistercian monk described as "young talent in the world of theology." Card. Camillo Ruini
Chairman, Scientific Committee Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation "Gonzalez plays a key role in Spain, not only in the theological field, but also in the cultural sphere in general. He's a man of culture who is referenced quite often. Simonetti is one of the greatest scholars of ancient Christianity in the world and undoubtedly the most important among the Italians. Father Heim has demonstrated great communication skills. He has given life to a series of lectures and many books that attempt to explain theological thinking in non-theological environments. "
In addition to worldwide recognition, each winner will receive 50,000 euros, which is roughly $72,000.
According to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, in the future, this honor may also be awarded to non-Catholic theologians. Card. Camillo Ruini
Chairman, Scientific Committee Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation "I think next year we need to reward a biblical scholar. This year none were awarded and the Bible is really the first area that's dedicated to the Foundation. In addition we must expand the linguistic arena. Also, there is nothing preventing non-Catholic theologians from receiving the award."
During the award ceremony, father Heim will give the most difficult lecture of his life. Among the attendees there will be very advanced students, including Pope Benedict XVI.